Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Matters of Life and Death

Soo...I'm an aunt now.
My younger sister gave birth to Lucas John this past weekend. It's our parents' first grandchild, the first great grandchild on my mom's side, my first nephew, my first godson...
No pressure, kid. ;)
We were all super excited, of course. And everything hits much closer to home when it happens, well...at home.
Like, babies are cute and all, but I really do think he is just that much cuter 'cause he's related to me. He's got good genes, what can I say?
Lucas also came at seriously the perfect time. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it home for the birth, being a new teacher and all. I had a friend who said he would sub for me, but with Thanksgiving just a couple weeks away, I thought I would just see what happened and maybe just make my next visit the big turkey weekend.
But God had other plans. And as usual, they are perfect.
When my brother in law called me on Saturday morning at like 9:30am, I immediately said I would hop in my car and make the 6 hour drive to Ohio. By the time I got there around 4pm, my sis had just started going into her harder labor and about 5 hours after that, we had welcomed Lucas to this side of the world (the outside ;) I had plenty of time to grade papers, get some sleep, and hop back in the car the next day.

Lucas' birth also comes at a time after the school where I work at had just suffered a shocking loss.
A young, new teacher who had just graduated from college and started teaching with me died suddenly last week. He was such a nice guy and still hasn't hit me that he's gone.

On my first day of training, he was the first person I met. Since he was new too, we comiserated about lesson planning and getting to know the kids as new teachers. We often had lunch together and had just chaperoned the Homecoming dance. When I got the email that he had passed away, I didn't believe it. I still feel like I am going to see him in the hallways.

Rob's funeral was today. The place of course was packed and it was very moving. The priest did a good job of making us laugh and cry at the same time, while focusing on the joy of Rob's life and the joy of his final resting place in heaven.

I've been teaching the kids in my Sacraments class about the Eucharist. I had just taught a lesson about the Eucharist being our Heaven on Earth. I have decided to forgo the textbooks a little this Chapter, since the Eucharist is so near and dear to my heart. I want it to be special for the kids. Lessons they will remember. Anyway, we had just talked about how- next to heaven- the Eucharist is as close as we can get to complete union with God. I really challenged the kids to ask themselves if union with God is something they even desire. We all know teenagers often get wrapped up in themselves, but one of my students when I asked, 'What do you care about?' honestly answered, 'Ourselves'. That is scary!

But the experience of birth and death takes us outside of ourselves and forces us to be in community. After that funeral Mass, I wanted to be with the community of teachers and students to share our stories of Rob and just be together. I wanted to be with my family during Lucas' birth and then to share the stories with my roommates and friends after.

The Eucharist is a communal event. I am trying to teach the kids that is highly personal, but also highly communal. Getting them to have a personal relationship with God one on one and then go out and share that relationship are two extremely hard things for them. But that is why we have the grace of the Sacraments. We cannot do it on our own.

Please join me in prayers of Thanksgiving for my nephew (and soon to be godson)! And please continue to pray for Rob and the repose of his soul. It couldnt of happened at a more perfect time, though- the funeral was on the feast of All Souls and we celebrated All Saints yesterday as a community too. I know Rob is in union with the saints and angels. I pray he will greet us with Christ one day.




molly said...

Welcome little Lukas! Congratulations Julia. You make a lovely aunt. Isn't it fun?
I'm sorry to hear of your coworker's death. How sudden and tragic for the students and for his family.
prayers, molly

molly said...

Welcome little Lukas! Congratulations Julia! You make a lovely aunt. Isn't it fun?
I am so sorry to hear about the death of your coworker. How very tragic for the students and for his family.
prayers, molly